So let’s talk cookbooks for a moment – cookbooks addiction actually. I think I’d like to start a cookbook support group for those of us who constantly accumulate them, without any regard to where to store them, fiscal responsibility, or how they may impact our relationship. Case in point: AJ and I used to have a deal, where every book I bought, meant I had to get rid of a book. We have THAT tiny an apartment. Of course, this deal went out the window when I started blogging (hey these cookbooks are research) and that meant I needed to find new, creative ways to store them as our bookshelves are maxed out. Currently that means they are stacked neatly underneath my desk, which would be a great solution, if I didn’t mind not being able to scoot my chair underneath my desk (I guess legroom is overrated). That said, just to fuel YOUR cookbook addiction (just call me a cookbook enabler) here’s a recap of my favorite ones from the last year – in no particular order. On top of that, I happen to have an extra copy of Cook without a Book – Meatless Meals by Pam Anderson (of Three Many Cooks) and I would love to send it to one of you guys. Read on to find out how you can win it!
Cook without a Book – Meatless Meals by Pam Anderson: As a former editor at Cook’s Illustrated, Pam Anderson has written half a dozen cookbooks, but I’m in love with her new one. A sequel (of sorts) from her previous book How to Cook without a Book this one focuses on vegetarian meals, giving techniques and master recipes for main meals…that are without meat. Once you’ve learned the master recipe, you can create endless varieties of meals, all without a book. I’m quite the omnivore myself, but have a number of vegetarian/vegan friends and enjoy eating meatless now and then just to mix it up. This book is fast becoming my go-to guide for those meals.
Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food by Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough: Many people have praised this book, but I have a special place in my heart for it. See Bi-Rite Market is my neighborhood market. I live a block and half away from it, and I shop there nearly every day. I know the workers, I know the owner, and I co-host a quarterly DIY dessert event at 18 Reason, their non-profit community center. In fact, (little secret) AJ and I might be making a cameo appearance in their ice cream cookbook that will becoming out next year. More importantly though, is that this book isn’t just a run-of-the-mill cookbook. It’s a guide on how to go grocery shopping, what to look for in produce and how to properly buy your protein (whether it’s pork, chicken, eggs or tofu). It’s an invaluable guide to anyone that wants to know how to buy the best food from a grocer’s perspective.
The Fearless Baker by Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss. Emily Luchetti is one busy person. Not only is she executive pastry chef at two acclaimed restaurants here in San Francisco (Waterbar and Farallon) but the James Beard Award winning chef recently became the Dean at the French Culinary Institute of New York and California. Suddenly I feel like total slacker. Chef Luchetti has written a number of cookbooks, but this one is fantastic, an approachable beginner’s baking book that is anything but basic. Teaming up with “regular folks” who have been fearful of baking, she works with them in the kitchen to create fearless bakers. Sprinkled through the 175 recipes are the conversation she had while baking with these fearless bakers, and their struggles and questions while they make desserts. Be sure to check Chef Luchetti’s blog as well, where she interviews other pastry chefs and gives an insider’s perspective as a seasoned pastry chef.
Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi. Speaking of Executive Pastry Chefs, Christine Tosi is the brilliantly skewed Pastry Chef at the brilliantly skewed Momofuku Milk Bar where she takes nostalgic childhood treats and elevates and turns them sideways. One complaint about her is desserts are they are really sugary. It’s true, Crack Pie (an oatmeal cookie crust sugar pie), Compost Cookies (cookies made with pretzels, potato chips, mini candy bars and other leftover cupboard treats) and Cereal Milk (exactly what it sounds like) all err on the sweet side. But the innovation in her recipes can’t be overlooked. In fact her Blueberry and Cream Cookie inspired me to make my Strawberries and Cream Chocolate Chip Jumbo Cookie. Just be forewarned that her recipes use a lot of pastry ingredients not found in most people’s cupboard (specifically glucose and milk powder). Don’t be scared though, she just wants people to be able to produce the same product that you can get at Momofuku Milk Bar.
Mission Street Food by Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz: Of course, if you want to discuss skewed cookbooks, you must check out Mission Street Food. The first book released by McSweeney’s Insatiables imprint, focusing on food-related books, Anthony Myint & Karen Leibowitz created a book that documents the journey from renting a taco truck to create an upscale food truck (before the food truck trend explosion) that was shut down in less than a month, to opening up their pop-up (before the pop-up craze occurred) with guest chefs and homage dinners to their currently food venture, a brick and mortar restaurant called Commonwealth. Along the way, the book uses hilarious images, a short comic book and, of course, a number of recipes with step-by-step photos to illustrate exactly what you should be doing.
Desserts by Michel Roux: For something a little more straightforward and less novel than the previous two books, Michel Roux’s Desserts is an excellent companion piece to his Pastry book that he put out a few years ago. Geared toward ambitious bakers and pastry chef wannabees, the gorgeous photography and step-by-step instructions will have you making restaurant quality desserts in no time.
Plum Gorgeous by Romney Steele: Of course, if you want gorgeous photography, look no further than Plum Gorgeous, the second book by Romney Steele, owner of Nepenthe in Big Sur. The deceptively petite book of 60 recipes mainly focuses on seasonal fruit dishes with lush photography reminiscent of the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook which is no surprise, as Sara Remington photographed both of them. The recipes in Plum Gorgeous are exactly what you would expect from a book named such, Lavender-brined pork chops with grilled spice plums, raspberry rhubarb rose petal jam, and honey glazed duck breasts with cherry salsa all make me wish summer is here so I can try them out. Thankfully her winter citrus based recipes seem just as inspiring (lemon almond cake anyone?).
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home: Who would have thought that an ice cream shop from Columbus Ohio would have me rethinking ice cream? Seasonal flavors, no egg yolk and locally sourced ingredients are all part of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. But more than that, is the philosophy that each scoop of ice cream is hand crafted, packed and labeled by a person, not a machine. The passion behind Jeni Britton Bauer is evident as you thumb through her book, as it highlights not only her own journey to becoming ice cream queen, but the local farmers that she gets her ingredients from.
Miette by Meg Ray: Charming and cute doesn’t do this little bakeshop here in San Francisco justice and it certainly doesn’t do justice to their cookbook either. From the scalloped edges of the book to the scrumptious photography and adorable recipes, the Miette cookbook has been drooling over their updated classic American treats. I’m not a pink fluffy polka dotted baker (you know what I’m talking about) but this cookbook certainly has me reconsidering becoming one.
They Draw & Cook: No way I could use words like adorable, charming and cute and not include They Draw & Cook, a compilation of illustrated recipes from the website/blog They Draw & Cook. Utterly entertaining to leaf through, this is the sort of book that would make the perfect holiday present regardless if the person love food or not.
On a Stick! by Matt Armandariz: I can’t talk about entertaining without bringing up the highly amusing, utterly entertaining Matt Armandariz’ first book On a Stick! Approachable, fun and sassy, much like the author himself, it made me want to run out and get a bunch of skewers, lollipop sticks and candy sticks just to have around the house in case of entertaining emergencies. How can you go wrong with spaghetti on a stick?
Sugarbaby by Gesine Bullock-Prado: There are hundreds (probably thousands actually) books on baking with sugar as an ingredients. But a book about COOKING with sugar (on the stovetop) – not so many. Enter Sugarbaby, a wonderfully designed book (have I mentioned I’m a graphic designer and a sucker for well designed book?) that explores confectionary treats from homemade cotton candy, pudding pops, honey nougat, peanut brittle and more. It’s enough to have you fall into a sugar coma just reading it.
Serious Eats – A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are by Ed Levine and the editors of Serious Eats: Both a travel guide and a recipe cookbook, this book functions as a fun printed version of the wonderful Serious Eats website. With guides on the best bun for you hamburger, recipes for fried chicken (both Southern style AND Korean style) and the Serious Eats style list of must eat places (25 BBQ joints, 15 fried bites, a dozen sweet bites) this book had my stomach growling and craving food of all sorts – which is always a good sign when I’m looking at cookbooks.
Of course, I didn’t have a chance to get EVERY cookbook that was released this year. Here’s the list of ones that hope somehow find their way under my Christmas tree.
Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson. Why don’t I own this book? Pretty much ever other food blogger out there has it. Dang it.
Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. Yeah. See my note above. I’m behind the curve. Also, totally not a cookbook, but whatever.
Basic to brilliant, Y’all by Virginia Willis. I’m vaguely obsessed with Southern food and the idea of a classic French southern inspired food sounds perfect!
Eleven Madison Park – the Cookbook by Daniel Humm and William Guidara. Supposedly gorgeous. I’d probably place it on my bookshelf next to my French Laundry cookbook and my NOMA cookbook. Oh wait, I don’t own the NOMA cookbook. Dang. Someone buy me that one too.
Hunt, Gather, Cook by Hank Shaw. Hank once offered to bring my hunting. Now he’s a famous cookbook author. I should have taken him up on that offer.
Heston Blumethal at Home by Heston Blumenthal. The man behind the Fat Duck writes an approachable cookbook for real people? Sign me up please.
The Family Meal- Home Cooking with Ferran Adria by Ferran Adria. Yeah. See the note above.
Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet. I guess if you look at this book as being able to function like a side table AND a cookbook/textbook, it’s worth the money, but sadly I need to pay the rent instead of buying it. However if anyone would like to buy it for me, I’d be ever so grateful.
Special thanks goes the publishers that sent me review copies of a few of these books. That said all opinions are my own.
Oh yes, and you probably wanna know how to win a copy of Cook without a Book – Meatless Meals by Pam Anderson. To enter, all you need to do is leave me comment below with a legitimate email address (I gotta be able to get in touch with you if you win!) and tell me what your favorite cookbook is that you bought this year. If you haven’t bought a cookbook this year, just tell me what your favorite cookbook. Come on people. Let’s all form this cookbook addiction support group! Goodness knows I need it.
As an added bonus, you can also tweet about this contest and get another entry. Just tweet “Win @PamAnderson3MC new cookbook! Visit @eatthelove’s post for details & to read his list of 2011 fave cookbooks. http://bit.ly/WinCkBk” and then come back here and leave another comment telling me you tweeted it. If you don’t let me know you tweeted it, I won’t know, so be sure to come back here and leave a comment.
The fine print – PLEASE READ.
By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
- NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
- VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
- You must be over the age of 18.
- This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
- The contest starts as of today, and will run until Monday, December 19th, 9am PST.
- The retail value of this cookbook is $32.50.
- The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
- The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
- If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award the chocolate to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type your correct email address if you want the cookbook and respond within a week to me when I contact you or I’ll give the cookbook to someone else.
- The cookbook will come directly from me, so if you don’t receive it, let me know. I’ll email you and let you know when I’ve mailed it. Because of the crazy holiday mail, it might take awhile to get to you, but if you don’t get it within a week, email me back and we’ll work it out.
Good luck guys!
This giveaway is now over. Congrats to Maggie over at A Bitchin’ Kitchen! Enjoy the book!